America’s Oldest Tent Maker

Armbruster Manufacturing is proud to be America’s oldest family-owned tent maker.  Four generations of experience, craftsmanship and service go into each and every tent that we design and manufacture.  Our founding principals and dedication to quality have allowed us to maintain our status as the finest pole- and frame-supported custom tent maker in the world.  Our willingness to listen to our customers and evolve with an ever-changing market, allows us to continue to grow as a company.

1853
Alphonse Armbruster
Alphonse Armbruster

Alphonse Armbruster emigrated to US in 1853 from Germany with family. Settled in the large German community in Springfield, Illinois.

1875
Rudolf Herman Armbruster
Rudolph Armbruster
Rudolph & Robert Armbruster

Alphonse’s Son, Rudolf Herman Armbruster, starts a small canvas, awning, and upholstery shop: R.H. Armbruster Manufacturing.

1890
The Travelling Circus
Oblong Tents

Travelling Circus visits Springfield and hires Armbruster to make first large canvas tent.  Portuguese Sailors are first skilled tentmakers and train our staff how to sew large canvas tents.

1890
Catalog Grows
Catalog Grows

Armbruster begins manufacture of small canvas walled tents, folding chairs, invalid chairs, buckets, and awnings.

1890
Armbruster Starts Rentals
Rentals Catalog Image

Armbruster launches tent rental division and rents tents, chairs, funeral organs, and rah rah horns for events.

1894
The Illinois State Fair
The Illinois State Fair

Illinois State Fair moves to Springfield. Begin farm and fair show rentals, which continue to the present day.

1910
The 4th Street Location

Purchase 4th Street location in downtown Springfield.  This location serves as the company headquarters from 1910 – 1978.

1917
World War I
WWI

World War I production begins.  Includes the first large government contract for the Red Cross, as well as contracts for YMCA and Salvation Army.

1920
Additional Production Space
Armbruster Building

As demands increase, Armbruster adds third floor to headquarters to serve as additional production space.

1922
Walter C. Armbruster
W.C. Armbruster

Walter C. Armbruster takes over as president of the company.

1925
Purchase Trap School
Purchase of Trap School

Purchase Trap School.  From 1925 – 1978, this location serves as the tent rental division headquarters and additional warehouse space.

1926
State Fair Tent Encampment
Historic Photo of Armbruster's State Fair Tent Encampment

Armbruster Manufacturing manages the tent encampment at the Illinois State Fair from the 1920s through the 1970s.

1930
The Great Depression
Armbruster Vintage Catalog Picture of Camping Tent

During the Great Depression, Armbruster provides tents as temporary shelter for families after banks foreclose on their homes.

1930
Awning Business Grows
Armbruster Awning

Awning business increases – pre-central AC.  From the 1930s – 1950s, awning storefronts are established throughout the Illinois.

1930
Voting Booth Production
Voting Booth

Voting booth production begins in the 1930s and continues through the 1960s.

1940
The War Years
The War Years

The War Years.  Government issues first large contracts.  Products include: Wall Tents, Bomber Winter Maintenance Shelters, Shelter Halves, 40’ General Assembly Tents, pyramidal tents.  Veteran’s claim “Armbruster Tents don’t leak”.

1940
The War Effort
WWII Banner Image

During this time, Armbruster has 3 Shifts of workers at multiple locations building tents, for a total of 920 workers.

1945
Helen Armbruster
Helen Armbruster

Due to increased workforce, Walter’s wife, Helen Armbruster, steps in to help and becomes driving force behind the company.

1950
Korean War
Korean War Tent Shelter Half Stamp

Korean War contracts follow World War II contracts.

1955
Rental Division Expansion

Rental division expansion to event sites all over the Midwest.

1955
Farm Show Curcuit
The Farm Show Circuit

Farm show circuits and state fair work continues.

1960
Large Canvas Tents
Large Tents

Improvements in the design and technology behind large canvas tents.

1970
Bernard Armbruster
Bernard Armbruster

Bernard Armbruster assumes role of President of the company.

1970
Vinyl Tents
Vinyl Tents

Transition from canvas to vinyl tents to provide customers a more durable and safer product.  Vast improvements also made in construction techniques.  Engineering Certification of Tents for flame resistance and wind load capacity established.

1978
Route 66 Location
Route 66 Location

Company headquarters moved from 4th Street location to new plant on Old Route 66.  Focus on increased production capabilities, contract production.

1980
Ultraframe
Ultraframe Tent

Armbruster’s Ultraframe design introduced to market.

1980
IFAI
IFAI

Work with IFAI to standardize tent industry.  Increase safety standards.  Conduct staking study.

1990
TensionTent
Tension Tent

TensionTent introduced, the original tension tent.  Engineered for 120mph wind rating, it advanced the technology and durability possible in tension designs.

1991
Celebration Frame Tent
Celebration Frame Tent

Armbruster’s Celebration Frame Tent design introduced.

1998
EuroTent
EuroTent

Armbrusters introduces the EuroTent to the market – the strongest twin poled peaked design in the industry.  Vinyl tent improvements.  Bail-ring older designs phased out.

2000
Web Presence
Web Presence

Focus on commercial awnings, structures, and custom vinyl work.  Focus on Web presence.

2000
Streamlined Processes
Armbruster Factory Floor

An increase in production costs and decrease in market demand lead to a focus on fewer and better products.  Armbruster scales back operations for a more streamlined and efficient production process.

2005
Hellar Armbruster
Hellar Armbruster

Bernard Hellar Armbruster assumes position of company President.  Bernard Armbruster moves into role of CEO.

2008
Custom Structures
Custom Structures

With 2008 market collapse, Armbruster shifts to more custom products.  Custom structures range from equipment covers to patio walls to custom tents for movies such as Spiderman 3, The Adams Family, and the Lone Ranger.

2008
Historic Reproductions
Historical Reproductions

Taking inspiration from our founding designs, Armbruster develops line of World War I and World War II historic canvas tents.